Express & Star

Respects paid to pioneering businessman

Well-known and respected businessman Douglas Graham, chairman of the Claverley Group, the parent company of the Express & Star and Shropshire Star, died on Saturday evening in the Princess Royal Hospital at Telford after a short illness.


Mr Graham belonged to the Wolverhampton-based family company widely regarded as one of the most successful in the newspaper and print industry. He succeeded his father, Malcolm Graham, as chairman of the Claverley Group in 1993 after a life-long career in the business.

A keen motor enthusiast, Douglas Graham lived at Worfield near Bridgnorth, was a life member of the British Racing Drivers' Club and was also a game shooting enthusiast. He was 85 in February and his wife Sara is especially thankful for the care he received at the Princess Royal.

She says: "I was jolly lucky to have been married to him for nearly 35 years. He was great fun, had a wonderful sense of humour, could be occasionally challenging, but was a very interesting man.

"He was also devoted to the family, his stepsons James and Colin, their wives who have all been very supportive and four super grandchildren between the ages of 18 months and 11. In fact, he had great games with the youngest not long before he died."

Mr Graham was educated at Shrewsbury School and his wife believes he still holds the 440-yard record running from his bed to the school chapel. She says: "I've been told that he still has that record because of course after that, it all went metric."

Tributes to Douglas Graham were led by Shropshire's Lord Lieutenant Sir Algernon Heber-Percy, a close friend who said the county owed Mr Graham 'a huge debt of gratitude', adding: "He leaves an enormous number of people who will look back with such thankfulness for what he did for them."

Mr Graham was a Deputy Lieutenant of Shropshire for many years and had been closely involved in local matters across the Midlands region throughout his life.

He was at the forefront at the birth of the Shropshire Star more than 50 years ago and Sir Algernon said: "We are tremendously grateful for that and the wonderful role he played in giving our county a voice it had never had before.

"On a personal note, he has been a very real friend and to my knowledge has helped a huge number of people, young and old. He was a true sportsman, a great racing driver and he loved country sports. He will be missed in so many ways."

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